On a recent coaching call with a veteran, he mentioned he was excited to join an established company in the financial sector, because “being part of that company will give me tremendous credibility,” he remarked.
He saw the opportunity to list this employer on his résumé and to associate himself with their well-known brand as critical to his ability to drive success after leaving the military.
Certainly, aligning publicly with trusted, well-respected and visible brands has value. It’s why influencers on social media are becoming more popular, why we have celebrity spokespersons for products and companies, and why it seems everyone wants to join a company that their friends have heard of. But is there more to gaining credibility than your employer’s brand?
What Is Credibility?
For an organization, company, service or person to establish credibility requires that there be a clear set of values (along with mission, passion and vision). It needs demonstrated actions consistent with those values.
For instance, when a company proclaims that it stands for community service, truth and inclusivity and then repeatedly behaves that way, audiences see them as “credible.” Similarly, when a person says they stand for a set of values in how they live their life, and we see them walk the talk, we trust them and find them “credible” as well.
Credibility can be shared and transferred when we align publicly with someone seen as trustworthy and credible. This is called a brand halo effect -- by being close to something that’s trusted, feelings of trust are spread to those nearby.
Credibility from Your Employer’s Brand
Working for a company that’s a household name certainly has perks. When you mention it to your friends, they will be impressed that a company so well-known sees your value. When you look for another job, it can look good to have tenure at a notable employer. But any job choice should offer more than just impressing friends and adding to your résumé.
Consider the opportunity at the company: Will you be afforded the chance to grow your skills and experience? Will the time there propel you forward in your career? Or will you be working in a role that doesn’t fully utilize your abilities and allow you to grow?
Credibility from your employer’s brand should show up this way to serve you long term across your career. When the company’s value, mission and achievements are well-respected and trusted among the people, communities and constituents you also are passionate about serving, then you can expect to elevate your own brand and reputation through aligning with the company.
You’ll want to highlight ways the company is fulfilling its brand promise to those it serves and connect that message to how you fulfill your promise to serve the same audiences. As you closely connect the two missions (yours and your employer’s), then the credibility transfer makes sense.
There Are Risks, Too
While there are benefits to aligning closely with the brand of your employer, there are also risks. You can lose your sense of self and forget that your own values are critical to your personal brand and reputation. Your employer can act in contrast to its public values, thus causing you to become disillusioned. And, if the company makes a fatal mistake that lands it in hot water, your brand can suffer alongside.
Being mindful of who you are, what you stand for and how you want to be known is how you safeguard against those risks. Never lose who you are as you look for credibility from your employer.
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